grande dame

\ˈgrän-ˈdäm \
plural grandes dames\ˈgrän-ˈdäm(z) \ also grande dames\ˈgrän-ˈdäm(z) \

Definition of grande dame 

1 : a usually elderly woman of great prestige or ability

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Synonyms for grande dame


dame, dowager, matriarch, matron

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Examples of grande dame in a Sentence

the city's grandes dames still hold considerable sway in its cultural life

Recent Examples on the Web

Image To grande dame Fanny (Harriet Harris), their doubts are ignoble. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Royal Family of Broadway,’ This Time in Song," 5 July 2018 The arrest and rehab stint of grande dame Luann de Lesseps have given an unexpected amount of weight to the Bravo show., "The Most Awkward Parts Of The RHONY Speed Dating Adventure," 12 July 2018 The fact that the grande dame of British punk is teaming with one of the country’s most iconic heritage brands might seem unlikely at first, but there’s a new guy in charge: chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Riccardo Tisci Brings Vivienne Westwood to Burberry for a Collaboration," 6 July 2018 Some tried on the grande dame trappings—say, Barbara Cartland—and immediately passed into camp. Sadie Stein, Town & Country, "The Revival of Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the Evolution of the Society Grand Dame," 20 Sep. 2016 Focusing on these offers a path forward for the grande dame of pageantry. Hilary Levey Friedman, Fortune, "Why Banning Swimsuits Won't Fix Miss America," 6 June 2018 Commander's Palace is one of New Orleans' historic grande dame restaurants. Devon M. Sayers And Steve Almasy, CNN, "Ella Brennan, famed New Orleans restauranteur, dies," 31 May 2018 Maybe that’s not fair; for starters, New York and Milan are so different to navigate, not to mention that our Gilded Age palaces are all but gone, so there’s no enjoying a modern intervention in a old grande dame of a space. Wendy Goodman, The Cut, "12 Highlights From Design Week in New York," 24 May 2018 There are also loving tributes to cabaret legend Bobby Short, vampy Eartha Kitt and Broadway grande dame Elaine Stritch. Randy Cordova, azcentral, "Loving documentary 'Always at the Carlyle' is worth a visit," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grande dame.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of grande dame

1775, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for grande dame

French, literally, great lady

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Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

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The first known use of grande dame was in 1775

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grande dame


English Language Learners Definition of grande dame

: a usually old woman who is highly admired or respected

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What made you want to look up grande dame? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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